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Speedplay pedals

PituophisPituophis Posts: 1,025
edited November 2014 in Road beginners
Although no longer a true beginner, this is probably a naive question so best put here.....

On my road bikes I have always been happy with the convenience of spd's and touring shoes.
However on a bit of a whim I decided to treat myself to some Speedplay Light Action pedals and some "better quality" road specific shoes. Never really gave it too much thought until I read by chance on another topic, someone mentioning the difference in seat height that Speedplay's made.
I haven't actually got around to fitting the pedals or shoe plates yet, but does anyone have any experience that may suggest I will need to lower my seat to compensate for the imagined thinner sole/pedal thickness?
Or is it just a case of suck it and see?
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  • Suck it and see.
  • Suck it and see, but I'd expect it to be about comparable with a small change in crank length; so you'll want it lower but not by very much. I don't know what the stack height for SPD is.
  • Some stack height info here:- http://www.cyclecycle.info/pedal-stack-heights

    As others say suck it and see.
  • PituophisPituophis Posts: 1,025
    Thanks guys, I guess this was my original thoughts but you know how it is once a doubt creeps in! :oops:
  • Keep the cleats lubed and if you have used a different clip in pedal be prepared to give these a little push on the foot down motion. I've just fitted mine and had my second ride on them today and they are amazing , no more numb toes for me .
  • whoofwhoof Posts: 756
    Also remember to lube the pedals themselves. Speedplay are great but if you do not lube them regularly you will start gettnig some play between the pedal and the axle, this will increase with time and eventually your pedals will sieze.
    To ube them remove the small screw on the outside of the pedal and pump this with grease. Any old grease will come out of the axle side, when it changes colour so it looks like new grease stop. Speedplay recommend you do this every 2000 miles, if you ride in the wet do it more often.
    You can buy a grease gun for a lot of money or go to the chemist and buy a 20 ml plastic syring.
  • PituophisPituophis Posts: 1,025
    Great tip whoof!
  • pinarellokidpinarellokid Posts: 1,208
    That's what I use Paul, a small syringe, I'm a fanatic and grease mine every 300-500 miles just to make sure. And if i have been on a really bad weather ride a quick grease again does no harm.

    I didn't bother adjusting the seat height, but I will say at first the cleats are hard to clip in,
    but they soon soften and you don't think about clipping in after a short while.
    Specialized S Works SL2 . Campagnolo Record 11spd. rolling on Campag Zonda wheels

    http://app.strava.com/athletes/881211
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    That's what I use Paul, a small syringe, I'm a fanatic and grease mine every 300-500 miles just to make sure. And if i have been on a really bad weather ride a quick grease again does no harm.

    I didn't bother adjusting the seat height, but I will say at first the cleats are hard to clip in,
    but they soon soften and you don't think about clipping in after a short while.
    Every 300-500 miles definitely seems like overkill but it's just extra time, effort and grease. Won't do any harm. I ride about 5000km a year and I think I've only ever greased them twice a year....and I do ride a bit in wet winter weather. Never a problem.
    In my experience it was only hard to clip in at first if the cleats were not installed correctly. Over-tightend cleat screws seem to pull the cleat out of shape a little and make clipping out difficult. Once installed per instruxtions I didn't have a problem
  • DKayDKay Posts: 1,652
    I also find that the cleat springs are a little stiff when brand new, making clipping in a bit harder. But, they soon break-in.

    With regards to greasing, I tried to use plastic syringes, but found it a pain as I couldn't generate sufficient pressure before breaking the syringe. I've since bought a grease gun from Halfords for only £8, which is well worth it.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    DKay wrote:
    I also find that the cleat springs are a little stiff when brand new, making clipping in a bit harder. But, they soon break-in.

    With regards to greasing, I tried to use plastic syringes, but found it a pain as I couldn't generate sufficient pressure before breaking the syringe. I've since bought a grease gun from Halfords for only £8, which is well worth it.
    I got a cheap-ish grease gun for the job too. Something like €15 at Chainreactions IIRC. Absolutely no need for something pricier like Speedplay's own gun though.
  • Peddle Up!Peddle Up! Posts: 2,040
    And buy some "Coffee Covers" to pop over the cleats if you're walking on them. e.g. at a cake stop, or uphill :)

    You really don't want to get small stones and mud in the mechanism.
    Purveyor of "up" :)
  • PituophisPituophis Posts: 1,025
    Sounds like a right faff considering I was happy on "zero maintenance" spd's an got them on impulse! :roll: :lol:
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Pituophis wrote:
    Sounds like a right faff considering I was happy on "zero maintenance" spd's an got them on impulse! :roll: :lol:
    It's not. However if you were happy with SPD why change? I came from SPD SL which I found okay but wanted more and less resistive float. Speedplay are, for me, much more comfortable and easy to live with. If you own a bike you should probably have a cheap grease gun anyway and that and a few minutes a year is all you need.

    P.S. I'd skip the coffee shop covers and get keep on covers instead. The coffee shop ones ARE a bit of a faff. Don't need to worry about stuff getting in the cleats unless you're walking on clay or something but the keep on covers do make them better to walk in when you need to.
  • smoggystevesmoggysteve Posts: 2,909
    ai_1 wrote:
    If you own a bike you should probably have a cheap grease gun anyway

    Why exactly? Where on a bike do you need to apply so much grease you require a grease gun as opposed to the thin film which could be applied using a clean rag or a dollop on the end of your finger?
  • Seriously, what do Speedplay offer that SPDs cannot?

    The need for regular lube/maintenance (grease gun? FFS!).
    Fragile mechanisms that clog easily.
    The most difficult cleats to walk in (café covers? Very convenient, not).
    Marketing guff that tells you they're "pro gear".

    Alternatively (to the OPs original posting), stick with stiff-sole shoes and SPDs (get real, it's just Marketing that says they are not for road use) and have a solid platform, great float, zero maintenance, low cost, the ability to walk like a normal human and be guaranteed never to clog them because you stood on the wrong type of soil/sand/grit/clay.

    Like, what happens if you need to change a tube, in winter, dirty roads, muddy verges? Find a stretch of tarmac, away from the verge, put on your "cafe covers", get out your matching Speedplay sweeping brush. . . .

    Okay, I'm being satirical, but if SPDs are good enough for Obree and Wilko. . .
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Seriously, what do Speedplay offer that SPDs cannot?....
    Pedalling comfort.
    I haven't tried SPD so don't know how they compare but yhe speedplays are much more comfortable for me than SPD SL and I would expect the other similar types such as Look Keo to be similar.
  • Peddle Up!Peddle Up! Posts: 2,040
    ai_1 wrote:
    Don't need to worry about stuff getting in the cleats unless you're walking on clay or something but the keep on covers do make them better to walk in when you need to.

    Sorry to disagree but unless you're walking on slabs or tarmac there's a real risk of getting small stones in the cleat mechanism. This happened to me and made it hard to unclip when I was in the centre of a very busy A road, looking to turn right. :shock: :shock:
    Purveyor of "up" :)
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    Peddle Up! wrote:
    ai_1 wrote:
    Don't need to worry about stuff getting in the cleats unless you're walking on clay or something but the keep on covers do make them better to walk in when you need to.

    Sorry to disagree but unless you're walking on slabs or tarmac there's a real risk of getting small stones in the cleat mechanism. This happened to me and made it hard to unclip when I was in the centre of a very busy A road, looking to turn right. :shock: :shock:
    In 3 years I've never had any problem unclipping. I did run through mud in them in a transition area of of an adventure race last year and it took two attempts to clip in but that's about the most drama I've had.
  • Just treat them like everything else on your bike , look after it and it will look after you :-) I've just spend the grand total of 5 min cleaning and re - lubing the cleats and pedals . Job done.
  • PituophisPituophis Posts: 1,025
    Well, they're on and seem very easy to unclip from. Not so easy to clip in as I am still in the habit of pushing toe down instead of flat, though to be fair, I haven't ridden very far yet in the kitchen. (Ai 1, that's a joke- they're not overly tightened.)
    I will give them their maiden trip tomorrow (providing its dry as they're only on the summer bike yet.)
    The total float seems a little excessive at the minute (probably why most go for the zero's with the adjustment option) but I'm guessing a ride or two will soon settle that feeling as I get used to them.
    I will report back for others who may be thinking of switching. :wink:
  • PituophisPituophis Posts: 1,025
    As promised for anyone interested;
    Very easy to clip into after the first half a dozen tries.
    Very easy to unclip from, straight from new.
    No issues with the float what so ever while sitting, but it did allow a bit of unwanted movement as I stood up to climb. (These are the light action versions) I thought the 15 degrees of float would be an advantage, but in practice it may be a little excessive. Then again I may get used to it very quickly, you can't make an opinion from one ride! Time will tell. :wink:
  • pinarellokidpinarellokid Posts: 1,208
    You will grow to love them pal. And I'm sure next time if you prefer you can buy zero cleats to use with them and have the option of tightening that float up a little bit.
    Specialized S Works SL2 . Campagnolo Record 11spd. rolling on Campag Zonda wheels

    http://app.strava.com/athletes/881211
  • nferrarnferrar Posts: 2,511
    Speedplay's generally feel weird and too floaty when you first stand up climb on them but you soon adapt and don't notice it any more (I think it's more you innately learn to control your feet a bit more when standing rather than it being a case of you stop noticing your feet are moving about a lot).
    They are a PITA over winter though with regular regreasing required
  • earthearth Posts: 934
    Seriously, what do Speedplay offer that SPDs cannot?

    What do they offer?

    Free float
    Double sided - reason enough for me
    Lowest stack height of just about any pedal
    Most ground clearance
    Cleats last years


    There are a few downsides. The maintenance is not really an issue for me. Some grease in the grease port takes about 10 minutes every so often and about 10 seconds every so often to drip some oil into the moving part of the cleat.

    Getting mud in the cleat is the real difficulty. This has happened to me on a handful of times (less than 5) in the 7 years I have been using them. I normally find a twig and use it to clear mud out of the cleat. The twig has never failed.

    I have never used cafe covers and have not needed them. If you do then someone has made an alternative called keep-on-covers. Essentially like a cafe cover with a hole in it so you can engage the pedal with it on. They help you walk in the shoes like cafe covers but do not prevent dirt getting into the cleat.


    Who do mean when you say Wilko? I know who Obree is and if by Wilko you mean Wiggins then he uses Speedplay anyway.
  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,252
    earth wrote:
    Seriously, what do Speedplay offer that SPDs cannot?

    What do they offer?

    Free float - Eggbeaters have 20 degrees. Zeros have a maximum of 15 degrees
    Double sided - reason enough for me - Eggbeaters have 4 sided.
    Lowest stack height of just about any pedal - there'll be microns in it between them and Eggbeaters
    Most ground clearance - ditto
    Cleats last years - only if they're properly maintained, for a few quid every other year you can get CB cleats.


    Admittedly the CB product can't compete on pedal weight (but can when cleat weight is taken into account).

    Just need to think outside the box (the Eggbeater is an MTB product) if you really want to do all those things, but better.

    Oh, the prices aren't bad either.
    Trail fun - Transition Bandit
    Road - Wilier Izoard Centaur/Cube Agree C62 Disc
    Allround - Cotic Solaris
  • earth wrote:
    Who do mean when you say Wilko? I know who Obree is and if by Wilko you mean Wiggins then he uses Speedplay anyway.

    How do you get 'Wiggins' from 'Wilko'!? :lol:

    He means Wilko - Andy Wilkinson.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    earth wrote:
    Seriously, what do Speedplay offer that SPDs cannot?

    What do they offer?

    Free float - Eggbeaters have 20 degrees. Zeros have a maximum of 15 degrees
    Double sided - reason enough for me - Eggbeaters have 4 sided.
    Lowest stack height of just about any pedal - there'll be microns in it between them and Eggbeaters
    Most ground clearance - ditto
    Cleats last years - only if they're properly maintained, for a few quid every other year you can get CB cleats.


    Admittedly the CB product can't compete on pedal weight (but can when cleat weight is taken into account).

    Just need to think outside the box (the Eggbeater is an MTB product) if you really want to do all those things, but better.

    Oh, the prices aren't bad either.
    To be fair, earth responded to the question "What do Speedplay offer that SPDs cannot?" His response is, IMO, accurate and whether or not egg beaters also offer these advantages doesn't change that fact.

    I'm aware of eggbeaters but don't know a lot about them. Is the float adjustable and friction free? (I suspect No and Yes respectively, can you confirm?)
    I'd be surprised if the stack height is similar. From what I remember they appeared a bit higher, maybe a couple of mm. Not necessarily a dealbreaker.
  • earth wrote:
    Seriously, what do Speedplay offer that SPDs cannot?

    What do they offer?

    Free float
    Double sided - reason enough for me
    Lowest stack height of just about any pedal
    Most ground clearance
    Cleats last years

    For what it's worth, I have thought of trying Speedplays...

    But to examine a couple of these, I can't say that ground clearance is a particular factor in my pedal choice. Perhaps it's more of a concern if you make really tight turns all the time, but seems more of a pleasing added extra to me.

    As for stack height, platform size, etc, all of this just reinforces my perception that none of it really matters that much - as long as your shoes and pedals are comfortable to you, you have nothing or very little to gain in actual performance by changing. The fact that most professionals use whatever the sponsor provides confirms it further. If Speedplay's marketing is to be believed, you'd have to be mad to use the old Look design.

    Not remotely saying you shouldn't use Speedplays at all. Incidentally, is long cleat life a general experience with them? Never got that impression before.
  • ai_1ai_1 Posts: 3,060
    earth wrote:
    Seriously, what do Speedplay offer that SPDs cannot?

    What do they offer?

    Free float
    Double sided - reason enough for me
    Lowest stack height of just about any pedal
    Most ground clearance
    Cleats last years

    For what it's worth, I have thought of trying Speedplays...

    But to examine a couple of these, I can't say that ground clearance is a particular factor in my pedal choice. Perhaps it's more of a concern if you make really tight turns all the time, but seems more of a pleasing added extra to me.

    As for stack height, platform size, etc, all of this just reinforces my perception that none of it really matters that much - as long as your shoes and pedals are comfortable to you, you have nothing or very little to gain in actual performance by changing. The fact that most professionals use whatever the sponsor provides confirms it further. If Speedplay's marketing is to be believed, you'd have to be mad to use the old Look design.

    Not remotely saying you shouldn't use Speedplays at all. Incidentally, is long cleat life a general experience with them? Never got that impression before.
    I'd generally agree with you. Some of these advantages are probably mostly theoretical with little real impact for most. However the free float is, IMO, a very real advantage for those like myself who find it adds massively to comfort.
    Yes, I've had 3 years out of my first set of cleats. They still work fine but show signs of wear around the retaining ring which now rattles slightly when not clipped in. I'm sure I could do another season with them but I have another set waiting so think I'll replace just to be certain.
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